There is a very interesting Random Notes column in today's Scranton Times (link HERE). Interestingly enough, the column infers something that I received some information on earlier this morning, namely that the President of Scranton's City Council, Mrs Janet Evans, may not have been summoned to the FBI but rather asked to meet with the FBI. Now that difference might sounds trivial, but it's not, chiefly for one reason: you never play games with Federal authorities. They have more money than you do, they have more resources than you do, they are more patient that you are (by the way that phrase is something that a lawyer at work once told me). In short, you don't mess with them or waste their time.
If Mrs Evans did in fact ask to meet with the FBI, then there are only three possible outcomes:
Outcome 1 - She provided credible, concrete proof of illegal activity on the part of Mayor Chris Doherty.
If this is true, then we should see much more investigative activity around the Mayor and his family. A raid on his house perhaps. A raid on the OCED office. The Mayor himself being questioned at length by the FBI. Here's the kicker: if you don't see these things happening, then there is no Federal investigation of the Mayor.
Outcome 3 - She is simply naive & believed the Federal authorities are as interested in rumor and innuendo as she is.
If this one is true, then she has succeeded in making herself look like an ass. As noted in the paper, a council speaker can scream "Pay to Play! Pay to Play!" at the top of their bitter little lungs, but awarding a contract that doesn't require bidding to someone that contributes to a political campaign is not illegal. It may not be the best policy, but...
a) Some contracts can be awarded without bidding
b) People are free to financially support candidates of their choice
In the "this does not necessarily mean that department" consider the following: Senator Mellow's committee has contributed in the past to the campaigns of Mrs Evans. Does that automatically imply a connection between Mrs Evans and the Senator? No. It's true...search through her campaign finance reports from, I think, the early 2000's...and you will see at least one contribution. That doesn't mean that there is any kind of "quid-pro-quo" between the two. Look, the business of campaign contributions is a dirty one, but dirty doesn't always mean "illegal".
Option 3 - This is a political ploy on the part of Mrs Evans to "harm" Mr Doherty's Senate campaign.
This is, I think, the point made in the column this morning. I sincerely hope this IS NOT true. I shutter to think that Janet Evans is so incredibly stupid as to think that she can "use" the Federal Bureau of Investigation to score cheap political points against a small town Mayor. "Incredibly stupid" I say? Perhaps that's not strong enough of term; how about "moronic" instead? Wasting the time of Federal agents is about as smart as telling Guido jokes at Satriales in Kearny, NJ.
Here's my bet:
Option 1 - Unlikely.
If the Feds had something on Chris Doherty, they wouldn't need the help of Janet Evans and we would be seeing other activity.
Option 2 - Likely.
Mrs Evans is used to being told by her followers that every word she puts forth is gold, so it's entirely possible that she might think Federal authorities would be similarly wowed. The problem is that there is a big difference between a professional FBI agent and, say, Ray Lyman.
Option 3 - Somewhat likely.
Mrs Evans is shrewd, and some of her supporters are even shrewder. These kinds of folks never miss an opportunity to kick an opponent. The problem is that Federal Authorities don't like being used as media cannonballs. Bad move.
Mark my words here: This will not help Mrs Evans AND this will not harm Mr Doherty. What does it do? It simply adds fuel to the notion that Janet Evans' is a one-trick pony, who does nothing other than try and harm Chris Doherty at every turn. Sadly, we actually need her to do more, like help to govern the city for example.